It was close to midnight as I was scrolling through my mom’s blog in the spring of 2016. I read page after page of stories from when I was younger. Even though she died close to nine years ago, each page is left and available to read. I was scrolling through and stumbled across a post I had yet to read:
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2007
At the urging of my college roommates, I have decided to create a list of 8 random things about myself that people might not know. I’m taking a break to have a little fun today and create this crazy list. If you have a blog, you’re supposed to post a list yourself, but if you don’t, feel free to leave it in the comments or email me. Either way, it’s a fun idea….kind of crazy, but fun. Have a great weekend!
1. I don’t like gingersnap cookies, but love molasses cookies. Technically, aren’t they the same thing??
2. I have zero regrets in my life save maybe one. I should have started dating my husband when he asked me a year before we actually started dating.
3. I am a Law&Order Criminal Intent and SVU junkie when I can’t sleep. Not the new ones, mind you…the old ones. This especially drives my college roommate nuts because I like the detective on CI that knows everything about everything.
4. I have had a pen pal from Italy since 6th grade, and we still remain close. In fact, it would be a great goal if I made it to my 40th birthday to go visit her.
5. Number 4 would be difficult for me because I honestly dislike traveling. I am a bonified homebody if there is ever was one.
OK, wow. I didn’t even read facts 6-8. How had I gone my whole life without knowing about a pen pal my mom had for 20+ years?
It immediately became my personal mission to find this woman. I interviewed my dad, grandma, aunt, and everyone else for more information. At last I had some- her full name and an address from 1987. Real helpful.
I began searching Italian directories, Facebook, literally everywhere online for weeks, contacting random people. I even employed the help of 15 SHS Track and Field long distance runners. No one found anything.
At this point, I am becoming a little disheartened. This is an impossible task and will become another inaccessible part of my mom. I shrunk in my bus seat on the way home from our meet and contemplated.
We stopped to eat at a Subway and one of the juniors stuck his head out from the seat behind me.
“Hey, have you checked Instagram?”
I had yet to check there. But I hadn’t, figuring that most adults have Facebook rather than Insta and it’s more of a teenage platform (sorry to all the cool adults out there, not trying to damage your hipster status).
Nevertheless, I try later that night, in desperation. Sure enough, a profile pops up of Maria Claudia Crivellaro. I sat down and stared at it. I checked the time in that area. About 6 or 7 in the morning. I messaged her.
“Hello! Did you know a woman named Jenny Meyer? I am looking for her pen pal.”
No less than 4 minutes later, my phone buzzes as I was scrolling through another directory.
“Ciao! Yes, it’s me. I was your mother’s pen pal. And I’ve been looking for you and your family for ages. You are so beautiful and remind me of Jenny.”
I sat there in shock, reading and rereading the message. I did it. I found her.
Flash forwarding to about August of 2016, I get another message. One asking if I could come for the holidays.
On January 5th of 2017, I flew into the Venice Airport to stay with Maria and her family for two weeks, meeting her husband and daughters. We celebrated my birthday and the holidays, toured the area, and spent time together as one family. Did I mention Maria is a professional tour guide for Padova and knows the Veneto region (Check out her website here)? Who ever thought I would be so lucky?
Special thanks to the track team for not allowing me to give up. Also thank you to Maria and the Crivellaro family for allowing me to become one of them and hosting me. I love you all 🙂